Saturday, April 20, 2019

SaturdayScenes two Easter tales

     Time for another #saturdayscenes  This one the day before Easter.

So I am posting to stories about God. I don’t have any stories that deal specifically with the Resurrection of Jesus but these deal with His power to create and also to heal our issues and baggage. And how He goes beyond what He needs to help one of his people. 

First one I wrote a couple of years ago inspired by a picture. Someone holding a huge glop of earth. The second was inspired by a different picture: the castle I describe in the story. I haev a series of stories based on that Castle picture.
This SaturdayScenes is a bit long but I wanted both tales. 

Without Void and Form

   “The earth was without form and void.”
        Those words popped into my head as I looked out at a very early Earth. The surface bubbled and strange clouds formed, probably of methane or worse gas. The machine I rode in had a force shield so I could watch things in person. It protected me from the high heat and surface pressure, poison atmosphere and all forms of radiation That allowed me to see even the distance very clearly even though I sat in a cushioned seat in a metal oblong vessel. A special, first of its kind vessel. Part of one end of the craft looked incomplete with an end wall gone, but that had been on purpose. We had to invent a new power source just to operate the shield. A combination of electric-magnetism, making the air of the craft solid and with bars of a new type of radiation we had discovered. 
       I had come on this trip because I expected to see the Beginning. What I hadn’t expected was a trip this far back or to see a man. And one who held up what was essentially a glob  of earth. I had jerked up right when I first noticed him. The figure stood there holding up a very large, quarter moon size, piece of hardening earth. It still slogged to one side but he held it with one hand, I should expect that a part of my mind said. After a moment with great care he moved his hand and the mass flew out with a precision I had never seen. The mass spread out as it flew through the air. It plopped down with a hardly a splat. I couldn’t see the base but I had the impression that it fused to the ground when it landed. He reached over to edge of the ground and picked up another mass of gas and molten ground.
        My first thought that someone had programed the ship’s computer to show him on the force shield, but no, it all checked out. He looked like a man but the heat out there was enormous. If I hadn’t been inside the force shield that surrounded the whole craft I would be bacon, even while inside it. Not only that but I would be gasping for breath as I cooked for what atmosphere there consisted of toxic gasses. Most of the planet was non-solid: gas and very molten rock. The only bit of solid ground was here where my time vessel had come to a rest. Looking out with my video monitor and using specially designed sensors I saw that this land looked fairly large like a continent but at the same time it was still small compared to the whole planet. 
        The man stood there so far enough away for me to barely make him out. He appeared smaller than most dolls.  
      I sat in my time capsule. Capsule in the same manner that the Mercury Atlas or “Friendship 7” was a capsule for John Glenn in his flight around the Earth. I had made off with it early because I wanted to go where truly no man had gone before and to check on something. It had taken me years of study and training to get to be the first one to try circle through time instead of the Earth.
     My first impression  was of a figure in a lava lamp playing with the floating glops. Then I release no, what that reminded me of was a glass blower I had seen recently. Even today with all of our advancements certain people still liked to form glassware the same way they had since people started to shape hot glass. The glassblower had used a long metal straw to pull in some of the melted glass then had moved it away from the source. After a moment he used other utensils to pull out strings of super hot glass and to shape it as he kept the main mass in the air. When he finished he had a magnificent object of art with curved delicate necks that came out of a main body that looked like a pitcher. Even though this man used his hands instead of a straw that seemed to be the closest illustration I could find of what he did.
       At the moment that thought formed he glanced my way. With the heat waves I couldn’t make out his face but I swore he smiled at me like he approved of my thought. That had to be my imagination though. This whole thing had to by my imagination. A man in unprotected, out there? In that soup? 
     A memory floated up to my mind and grabbed my attention. I had just talked to someone I am close to about Creation. A Christian, she told me that the first chapter of Genesis was not a blow by blow study of how God created the world, but an outline that touched the highlights. I blinked, for another verse stated that the Earth was God’s special creation.
     I touched my holo controls and moved the capsule closer. I wanted to see his face. I could swear I had seen faces like that. 
      A red light appeared, I reached for a control image but my craft titled forward.
      Damn! I had entered a molten lake. I hit the reverse button but the anti-grav wheels sparked. I started at it. Nothing in here should do that. I wiped sweat off of my face, I wouldn’t get to see his face or even home unless I did something like two-seconds ago. 
     The shield stayed in place even as the substance of the lake touched it and started to cool and harden. 
      I touched my controls the capsule slid backwards. I upped the power to the anti-gravs. Which made the whole thing like a hover craft, but not one that floated on air. My craft eased back up and away from the lake. 
      I shook my head I still wanted to know what he looked like. This time I tried to make the shield into a magnifier. I  double checked the readings to make sure it did not lessen the shield’s ability. I looked at him, studied him.
      Again the figure turned my way, he seemed to have a wise smile on his face. I blinked as I stared at him. I could swear that he had shoulder length hair and a beard. I shook my head to clear my vision. The smoke and heat waves made things too vague so my mind added features.
    Speaking of heat, I felt hot. The shield either was failing or it was just too hot out there. I thought the second was more likely. No one could be sure of how high the temperature was when the earth was just gas but it had to be many points to the 100th power. I needed to get back home. I turned to the controls and upped the power. The cool air tasted good and dyed the sweat on my face. I sat down and pressed the “go home” button. A big red square of light on the touchpad. Easy to see and find. As the process started and my vision blurred again I thought that I better write this down when I got home, but I would show it to one person-maybe a couple. My colleagues would think I had hallucinated. They may think some of the gas had seeped in or the temporal radiations had made me see things. 
     I shook my head though and sighed, convinced it was none of that. I knew who he had been. 


Midnight Castle

           I took as step on sand. Sand? In my night clothes? I stopped for confused. Sand as in desert. What? I could see only a few low bushes and what might be cactus or trees in the distance, plus sand. In gullies, on dunes and along the more or less straight path I walked. The road dipped and rose in hillocks but the low spots were not that far down and the high spots more then ten steps up. It was night yet I could make out the dark old medieval city I walked to. There was a large castle which sat on a hill in the middle of it. It didn’t look that big but it was the largest hill by far I could see in any direction. I could make out buildings I assumed were houses, Inns and businesses plus a wall. A huge stone wall I have seen in pictures, movies and in reality once or twice when I visited aa couple castles. This one looked tall and narrow and dark. A large, full moon sat behind it which the castle covered only the middle section. 
      The air still felt warm even though I wore my sleeping clothes, short PJs bottoms and a light long sleeved shirt-blue with purple flowers of various sizes all over both. The material was thin as it should be on PJs.
      I could smell the sand, and some animal droppings, but that last wasn’t close. I heard small slithers and tiny claws going over sand. 
      I did not know why, but I kept moving toward that castle. It offered some protection from the weather, any large animals and there could be water there. It felt like home too. I didn’t need any at the moment but if I stayed here long I would. 
     The distance to the open gate in the wall turned out to be shorter than I thought. I almost didn’t go in. The walls, rough stone, over ten feet high and two thick, radiated cold; not from the weather either. It was very dark in there: shadows lay everywhere. I couldn’t hear anything so I knew that no one was home-not in any house, Inn nor the castle. The houses stood open, the windows had open shutters, even though some had fallen off. Sand had been blown in through the open gate. I didn’t like that for sand had gotten through my socks and I stepped on the grains as I walked. No to mention being dusty because of the sand grit I kicked upward.
     I wondered if there really was water inside. But I still went in. Almost as if what was outside was worse then inside. I couldn’t say why I felt that way though. I hurried along the street. I half expected to see bones or bodies still with flesh on them. But just cobblestones, which hurt my stocking feet, and sand. Every house and two story Inn, looked forbidding with way too many deep shadows. My heart pumped so hard I felt shudder. Anything could hide there, from leopards to huge snakes, to super sized black widow spiders, zombies or skeletons. Even men with swords, knives and—and rapists with just their strong hands. 
      Fear grew, I think if something did jump out, even an owl or bat, I would wet my PJs. I smelled my own sweat plus some decay in the distance. Something had died here, maybe in the houses not out on the street? I hurried faster somehow that dark forbidding castle felt like home. 
       My feet grew cold on the cobblestones, a chill settled on my shoulders. Memories came up, from old movies and even—that event. I had been in a forest and only a couple of tress lived here, but shadows had been everywhere. Not only did sweat coat my forehead as my hair became soaked in it but now tear tracks formed. From that memory. I was sure the tears left trails though a layer of sand dust on my face. Yecch, it  tasted like gritty sand.
       I must have walked for hours, without becoming tired, but finally reached the castle. It sat dark and huge, cold and rough to my touch. After a search I found a door. It waited below windows with closed drapes, more like a mansion than the castles I had seen. I looked up, but its turrets and upper walls were too dark to really see. I heard what I hoped were only bats. No light shone at all, inside or out. I could see only because of the bright moonlight. I spat when bile came up. I smelled sweat that chilled my bones. It still had the familiarity of home. 
       I didn’t want it to be home, it had too many dark corners and looked cold. All of this seemed familiar, even though I had never been to any castle, this close, though. I wanted my home, I wanted mommy, I wanted escape.
      A movement caught my eye. A creature made of shadows came out of a deeper darkness. I actually swallowed hard enough for me to hear. My eyes got wide I backed off. He smiled in a way that showed me I was in trouble, my fear jumped even more. I felt like a child full of fear. It took me a second to realize why.
      I froze! 
      Oh, God! Oh God! Oh God!  I didn’t care if that was blasphemous as some say. I couldn’t help it. He would just have to forgive me.
     They said he was dead—I wanted to scream, to run, to faint. My feet hurt as their bottoms lay sideways between the cobblestones but I couldn’t move them.
      Again it went through my head. They said he was dead! But here he was, unchanged. My mind said he couldn’t be here, or unchanged, but I ignored that part. He was evil, so of course he would be eternal. 
     My tears became real crying. I called for God, I sobbed, I needed His help. Memories of my trip through that forest by our house. He-he walked out of a shadow and grabbed me before I could run. I hit him and jerked, but his hands were too strong. I screamed when he hurt me, begged for him to stop but he just did it. Out of my intense pain and panic I bite him and scratched his face. He back handed me and threw me. I hit the ground with my back. Branches tore into my skin and rocks bruised my back. He yelled at me, used the same words as he had back then. Said he would get me. He came my way but stopped, looked up, said he would be back to do more, and ran away. I fainted or something. I woke in a hospital. They later explained what happened and my parents had to explain why he had done it. I still didn’t understand-not until later. They caught him, but as they prepared me to testify in a trail, he was killed while trying to escape. I felt both relief that I didn’t have to face him and disappointment because my parents and a counselor had worked hours to get me ready for something that would not happen.
    I fell to the street, my knees didn’t hurt though when I landed on them. Two things I noticed as I stared at him. One he didn’t come any closer, two he looked not quite right. I thought it might be the darkness, but he seemed not-right somehow.
    He yelled at me, saying he would get me and do more than last time. I shook, and wanted to vomit. Then in the middle of a sentence his mouth shut and his head spun to one side. Shock showed on his face, then fear grew. I didn’t understand. He turned back to me and spoke again. 
    Footsteps sounded; they came closer and finally a man appeared. He looked kinda of young but not too much, with long hair and a beard. The very deep shadows that filled this place moved. They seemed to shake and move away from him. 
     He turned to the other man-the evil man-and said, “Quiet.” 
    The other man looked surprise but closed his mouth and even backed up a step. The younger man walked to me.
     “He is not real.” The evil one moved a lot closer, shouted that yes he was, but the breaded one just looked a him and after a moment he bowed his head and backed off again. 
   I couldn’t understand, but what he said no longer produced fear. 
    The younger man knelt by me. “I am among many things a healer. I came to heal the broken hearted. This isn’t the man who did evil to you. That man was killed years ago. He died without redemption, so he is in a place of torment.”
     I stared at him, could I trust him? I saw love in his eyes but still…
     He stared back then said, “Here a glimpse of his torment.”
     With warning I saw something-somewhere else. A man was there, I turned my head away even as it disappeared. Tears burst out again. He was evil-every adult said so-and he had hurt me badly but that? Did even he deserve that? 
      Through tears I looked at the breaded man again, I saw tears in His eyes. “He made his choice. He had a chance, more than one. Even before he hurt you, but he chose to reject redemption, to reject Prefect Love. That was his choice for what he did to Holiness.”
     I swallowed and nodded.
     He bent down and held my hands and said, “You feel at home here, because your heart has lived here since it happened. Fear has ruled you for too long. But now Fear and Darkness have no place in you. You do not belong here. Your home is elsewhere. A part of that Home is with you always, as I am. Remember what I said,  Lo, I am with you always.”
     My eyes widen I knew that verse. He continued, “It is true. My love is not overcome by either fear, Darkness, demons, the grave, principalities or even death. I proved that when I rose from the dead. Never forget I am the Healer. Fear masquerading as something other than what it is, has no power over you. I conquered it. You have perfect Love in you. The love that conquered death, sin and Darkness.”
       I gasped, I understood who He was and what He had done for me. At the same time I knew I had done things against Holiness too. Not like that man but still enough. But this Man before had taken care of that too, by His death and raising from the dead. I had believed that much already. 
       The next instant I saw a darken room. A moment and it turned into my bedroom with just a little light. There were no noises here this late, but I knew that and it comforted me. My bed was under me, a thick blanket lay half over me. I smelled my perfume. So a dream. I looked at the nightlight I had needed since That happened. 
        I snuggled under my blankets, I knew that had been a dream, but one I needed. I thought of what I had seen and when the memory of the fake evil man popped into my head fear grew again and somehow the darkness in the room increased. But I remembered  “Lo, I am with you always”. I smiled and peace grew instead. I lay back and relaxed. He has beaten all Darkness. It is afraid of Him. I saw it.
         I may still have battles with different types of fears and I may have to break the habit of fear of that man but now I could. No more looking over my shoulder for him, or scanning crowds to look for his face. He is dead. I knew it well now. I may have a fight over fear of shadows because it had been ingrained in me but He is with me. He is the healer. 
         Even after all those thoughts and the peace in my heart I couldn’t help it; I felt the bed and my PJs to make sure I hadn’t wet them. I realized that sweat still soaked my hair though and strangely my feet felt like there was something rough in my socks-like sand. I jerked up at that, and looked around but then relaxed back and closed my eyes. Whether real or a dream He was with me and His prefect love beats fear every time.  

The end 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

SaturdayScenes story April 20 The Last Viking

As I said last week I am doing a #saturdayscenes story every week.
Here is one story I call a historic fiction. It is based on a picture that Charlie Hoover showed on his geekscapes which isn't here on MeWe I am sorry to say but he does have a web site. Anyway, no pic to go with the story this time but a few people liked the Last Viking when I posted it on G+
Oh yes, The dry dock he mentions is one in Ireland. They found the ruins of it.
So enjoy:
The mountains rose out of the ocean, higher than he would want to climb anymore.
The viking, one Askell, son of Kreall and Bergljot, looked over the side of his ship. After the glance toward the up coming mountains he watched for what lay and moved under the surface. He pulled the furs wrapped around his body closer, his legs also had a cover of thick fur. Today he even wore fur bands around his arms. For the day looked cloudy and they sailed among huge floating mountains of ice. As a viking he was used to the cold but this was beyond what he had experienced before. Not to mention that his age made it more difficult to stand the cold.
However he fought the icy temperature for he was a viking warrior to the end. Just the same as both of his parents. His mother had been buried not only with her hammer and warrior armor but with riches and quality weapons which showed her status among vikings.
Now though he and his men on board this longboat were the last. No other viking warriors lived anywhere. Their great leaders had gone to Valhalla, or heaven depending on what they believed. Even the colony in that far off land where the people wore loin cloths and fought with spears, bows and clubs, had faded away. Or so he had been told by a survivor who had made the long trip back.
Askell glanced along his longship, the last skeið 20 faðmr in length. Not all of the rowing seats were full, they had lost men. They had all died as warriors though in battle to help the others survive. Now it was his turn to make sure they all got to some place they could make a home. The ship would take them. It was still tough even though the wood looked aged: it had nicks, claw marks, and blacken areas. That last fire they barely got out in time. That fight had been bad. Their axes had cut through the shields of the soldiers, as well as their armor who had driven them off. There had been too many of them. The arrows and number of men had seen them off. He would have gone and gotten more ships to come for revenge but there were no other ships anymore. Later they lost no men but had been driven away from the port they thought had been friendly. Since that repair port in Norðreyjar had fallen to disrepair they had problems getting supplies and repairs. In that one they could have brought the longship out of the water completely or sail it up a river channel they had widened to a loch. That meant that the sail would no longer have a missing corner. Yet like them it still functioned well. He supposed he could get one of the new style of ships with multiple masts and a taller superstructure but he, and his crew, were too old to change that much. And what good would it do?
He stroked his grey beard, looked down.
"To port now!” he shouted
Something scraped the hull as the longship turned too slowly.
So this ocean was not deep, those rocks were hard to see. Movement under the water, Oh, something huge lived down there. Not a whale though. This had tentacles. He readied his hammer and his ax. Two of his men did the same he saw. The others were busy rowing.
The thing moved more, twisted around a block of stone. It neared the surface and before he could cry out for them to raise oars, three of them hit it. It thrashed, caused water to splash into the longboat. Cold water that soaked their footwear. The oars didn’t break though, thank Odin.
He snarled, spat bile out. Nothing would sink them on this cruise. They had to find a place
Once the water settled again he ordered them to head for a distant bit of land. He could see that it had what looked like a strip of land where they could beach the longship. Further, maybe half or three-fourths of a rôst in, lay the base of a tall cliff. They might be able to build housing right next to the cliff or dig small caves into it. They could eat fish, birds and seals and maybe even smaller whales which they could use for tools and clothes.
He looked behind them. No one would chase them this far, but if any did they would pay for that with their blood, for his crew still kept their weapons sharp. This was a great pity, the long ages of the vikings were over. They had colonies almost everywhere. Even in that far away land that took months to sale to. People with a red skin and lived much like them had lived there. Or so he had been told. He believed it for he has seen many other far places were vikings were feared.
Askell double checked the depth and for any other movements. He would have to be on his toes to make sure nothing else hindered them.
He turned at a movement, and saw a long snake like movement in the water after them. He looked back at the bow and shouted, “To port”. The longship turned faster this time. The helmsman had learned from the last time.
There seemed to be a whole line of rocks and parts of those ice flows between them and the stretch of land.
“Ease up on the speed!”
The longboat started to slow but again the something scrapped the bottom. It sounded like sand but there wasn’t any here.
There to the starboard a deep shadow, they might be able to get through there.
“To starboard, slow.”
The vessel turned and he said, “Back to port a degree.”
The ship eased to the left.
The ship moved forward between two rocks. He studied the submerged rocks.
Once they longship had ceased its movement forward he said, “Turn it a quarter rotation.”
When the vessel faced toward the East, or so he thought of that direction, he said, “Forward.”
They had to fight what wind, it now blew across his face instead of behind him, there was but the oars helped.
“Odin’s paps.”
Askell thought he has seen a way through here but now nothing. All shadowy forms that meant rock. Sometimes ice. But the ship did not float close enough to a large ice floe for there to be a part of it underwater.
He studied the ice and rocks more. His men sat there silent for they trusted him. A very heavy responsibility to lead the last viking warriors to what would be their last home. They could live in peace though instead of being hounded.
A moment later he jerked up straight. That rock had moved. He glanced at the nearest hill of ice. It moved with the current. Maybe here they had long tendrils of ice to catch a weary viking.
Another movement, he jerked his head to look to one side.
Another rock, or ice block moved under the water.
He looked outward again. That ice floe moved away from that strip of land. If those two, or more, rocks moved with it then the skeið’s belly would be smashed and thrashed as if an uneven ax had been smashed into it many times. The ship would sink and the men would all drown in this cold water.
It would be his failings that would cause this. It would not be the fault of those that had fallen for they had fought well and bravely. They would be taken home by valkyrur or angels depending on which man believed what. But he would be responsible for their deaths when they trusted in his leadership.
He did not want them to die like that so close to the end of the journey. They did not deserve that.
He spoke in low tones, “Jesus, whom some of my men believe in, help this old warrior save his men.”
Ice grinding noises made him look afar. Something moved under the water but what?
Three tentacles shot out of the water. They were too far away to endanger the longship. But what were they doing? That thing must have followed them in here but had swam under the ice.
More of the thing popped up, almost half moved above the water. It looked soft with a grayly skin. He knew though it was tough. He watched as the creature used its tentacles to slid forward then it dropped back down all the way into the water. So that must be a real rock embedded in the ocean floor there not part of that ice flow.
He turned back to the shadows near the longboat. Askell blinked, turned back. That thing was huge. And just a bit of it had been out of the water. There could mean the skeið could make it over that rock.
“Back the skeið up,now!”
The men used to orders reversed their rowing and the longship moved backwards. Water splashed onto Askell, cold seawater got in his mouth, but he did not care, for he had leaned over too much. The oars splashed twice but then settled into an almost noiseless rhythm as it should be. He would not say anything about that splash though.
The longship moved as did the ice under the water on one side of them. One piece just missed the bow of the ship. Another piece hit something, a slower moving piece of ice or rock. He heard the bump and it grind. Then a section of ice popped out of the water. It looked white and slender with a slight knob on the end but smooth as the new glass he had seen. Water streamed off of it then it disappeared back where it belonged.
He looked again. A few more seconds and they were where they needed to be.
Again the rowers reversed their strokes. The longship halted.
“Turn the bow to face that strip of land.”
The pilot moved his control and the longship rotated. They had won many seabattles with that ability and now it would save them. He watched what would flow under the bow. It looked like the hull would scrap again but it he felt no jerk, heard no thud or scrape. He commanded them to move but slow. Within four heartbeats of Askell, they headed in the right direction again.
The skeið slid forward with grace. One oar hit something when it went too deep but the ship continued to move. Soon he saw that the rock dropped off. They still had a distance to go but it looked like they had left the last of the rocks behind them partially submerged.
Half an hour later they close in on one mountain mass. Near the landing site he had chosen there were few rocks in the water. Perhaps the waves had worn them down to fine bits and used the particles to make the sand for that beach. He commanded them to increase speed. Soon he heard a scrapping again and felt a jerk, but this time it was from the hull hitting sand and slowing. It came to a halt. He was the first off.
The sand gave only a tiny bit. It looked wet here but solid. He nodded. They could make a small, tiny, village here. He would send out the longship again to get wood and other supplies, then to go fishing. There were still a couple of captains who did not mind trading with vikings. If no one would trade then they could take what they needed. They were still vikings after all, they could take what they needed. He saw seals on an ice floe and on another beach, that meant there would be fish. The blubber from the small whales would be good here and they could use the bones.
They would die here for they were the last of a grand tradition of warriors and conquers. He had always thought he would die in battle, but his destiny had been something else.
Askell decided to have the believers of that Christ build a place of worship for He had sent a denizen of the deep to show the way. That may have been more for their sakes and not his but that mattered not.
He turned back, “Okay men, warriors, this is our new home. We have work to do to make this livable. Get down, move the skeið more out of the water. Lets get to work.”